“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
“For we are God’s handiwork.” The Greek word for handiwork is poiema. This is where we get the word poem or poetry. But the Greek word is better understood as God’s masterpiece or God’s artwork.
Think about that. You are God’s masterpiece. You were created for a purpose – to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The psalmist tells us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” (Psalm 139:13-14).
Imagine that. The God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who created the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the God who placed the stars in the heavens, the God who created the beauty of the Milky Way thought that our world needed one of you too! Our world is incomplete without you.
So, here’s what that means. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. God created you for this day, for this time, for this place so that through you God can demonstrate his amazing goodness, grace, and beauty. You are God’s masterpiece!!!
You are amazing because an amazing God created you.
Now get out there and do what God created you for.
“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).
The context of the verse is the “trial” of Jesus before Pilate.
Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. There was not a doubt in his mind. Pilate absolutely knew Jesus was innocent. Not only was Pilate certain Jesus was innocent, Pilate knew that the accusers of Jesus were out to get Jesus out of self-interest. Pilate knew this was a mockery of justice.
Pilate wanted to release Jesus because he knew “it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him” (Mark 15:10).
When the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas – an insurrectionist and a murderer – instead of Jesus Pilate asks the crowd, “What crime has Jesus committed?” (Mark 15:14).
So what did Pilate do?
“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15).
When the motivation is to satisfy the crowd rather than doing what is right, justice and truth will always be trampled.
The truth of God is not always popular. But it is always right.
The teachings of God may sometimes be difficult. But it is always right.
We may not like what the Bible has to say. But it is always right.
The Bible is the only rule of faith for the Christian.
Christian, we do not base our decisions on what I feel, what I think. As followers of Jesus, the standard which rules our lives is always “What does the Bible say?”
Living for the approval of people will keep us from the will of God.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
I pray, not because God needs to hear my prayers. I don’t pray to change the mind or the will of God.
I pray because I need to talk with God.
I am just a guy. Yet, God’s placed me in a position where I am also your pastor. How am I supposed to handle that? How am I supposed to know how to lead? I am just a guy!
What I know about James is that you don’t want James leading, unless James is being led by God. You can take that to the bank.
There is so much that happens in the course of leadership that I have no clue how to handle and manage. There wasn’t a single class during all my seminary years that came close to preparing me and our staff to lead during Covid. There are people who don’t like me, who disagree with me. And God still calls me to pastor them. I don’t know how to do that!
I would be totally lost without God. I don’t pray because God needs me to pray. I pray because I need to pray.
I don’t know what I would do without my daily prayer times. I spend thirty to forty-five minutes everyday journaling my prayer. That is such a precious time for me. Whenever I come across a situation that I don’t know how to handle and manage, the first thing I turn to is prayer. I can’t wait to get into my journal and pray. It is in those times that God guides and leads.
J. C. Ryle wrote:
Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands. It is the best weapon to use in every trouble. It is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need. Show me a growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a flourishing Christian, and sure am I, he is one that speaks often with his Lord. HE TELLS JESUS EVERYTHING!